Bhawanagala Aranya Ruins in Monaragala – (මොණරාගල භාවනාගල ආරණ්ය සේනාසනය නටබුන්)
The land mass between Monaragala and Yala northern border is filled with remote villages who mainly survive on paddy and Chena cultivations. Most of the land is covered in jungles and rock formations of various size an height rise at various locations. At most of these rock formations, you will find remains of ancient Buddhist monasteries providing a glimpse of the past of this area. Most of the ruins are not even reported but a research party headed by Takashi Okamura from Hosei University in Japan had made 2 research visits in 1985 and 1993 and has documented a significant number of hidden ruins in this area.
Main access road to Kotiyagala are is from Kodayanna Junction between Galebedda and Siyalanduwa. From Kodayanna Junction you need to travel 13 km to reach this site. Following information on the site is based on the 1985 visit report prepared by the Japanese archaeological team.-0-
Dambagala rock formation is located 8.8km north of Kotiyagala, or 3.2km north-northwest of Ethimale colony. It is named “Dambagala” on the “Map”, but the villagers call it “Gamagala”. Bhawanagala Aranya is located about 800 meters northwest of Gamagala or about 7km north-northwest of Wattarama.
All the ancient monuments are preserved well, because the meditating Buddhist priests who occupy this site have restored them. Most of the rock shelters are used as cells or audience halls. Brahmi inscriptions are to be seen on the peeled rock (C), and rock shelter (B). (E) and (I). Rock shelter (A) measures 3m high and 5m deep. There is a katrama beneath its brow. Rock shelter (B) lies about 6m north of the rock shelter (A). The shelter B consisted of two big restored rock shelters. The priests use it as an audience hall. Rock shelter (B) has two entrances at its north and south sides. The northern entrance measures 9.5m wide and 2.5m high. The southern entrance measures 7m wide and 2.5m high. At the brow of the north entrance, we found some inscriptions.
About 50m southwest of rock shelter (B), we found a post-hole, measuring 13cm in diameter and l5cm in depth. A short distance south-southeast of it, we found some inscriptions on a bedrock.
Transliteration and translation of it is as follows:
(read by Mr. W. G. P. Gamlath)
Rock shelter (D) measures 7m wide and 2m high. Now, it is used as a cell. No inscriptions are found there. Rock shelter (E) measures 22m wide,5m high and 6m deep. At the brow of it, we found a katarama and some inscriptions. The floor of the shelter is separated into the higher part and lower part. At the higher part. At the higher part, there is a cell in which a priest is now living.
No further information of this site after the research was carried out in 1985 was found. The location marked on the google map is approximate based on the map of the research team given below.
- Okamura, T., 1999. Ruins of the Ancient Ruhuna Civilization – In the Jungles of Kumbukkan Oya Basin SRI LANKA. Tokyo: Exploration Club of Hosei University.
Map of Bhawanagala Aranya Ruins
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Travel Directions to Bhawanagala Aranya Ruins
|Route from Monaragala to Bhawanagala Aranya Ruins|
|Through : |
Distance : 13 km
Travel time : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map